Globalization is the process of interdependency and connectivity of economic, social, cultural and political systems of the world (Giddens, 72). The process of globalization has been accelerated by the improvement of communication infrastructure. Technological advances have also contributed to the process of globalization as they have provided a platform upon which people can communicate, travel and conduct their businesses globally. One realm of the society that has been affected by the process of globalization is the cultural system. Different people have had different opinions regarding the relationship between culture and globalization. Some people are of the opinion that globalization will eventually lead to the merging of different cultures causing cultural diversity. Merging of the different cultures would lead to loss of cultural identities and whole cultures in the extreme cases. The argument that globalization will lead to loss of cultural diversity is put forward with the aim of protecting cultural authenticity of individual cultures (Marquardt and Michael 8: 1, 127 – 129). The other group of people are of the view that globalization is beneficial to the cultural system. Due to the increased interactions between people of the world, those who argue that globalization is beneficial looks at the positive elements that can permeate from one culture to the other during their interaction leading to enrichment of those cultures. This essay will examine other points of view and critique them.
The proponents of the fact that that globalization will benefit culture asserts that changing of culture does not necessarily mean that traditions will be lost with these changes.They actually argue that the interaction of different cultures, brought about by globalization can lead to cultural explosion. This cultural explosion will result from the increased number of values that will permeate from different cultures as they interact with each other. Like any other part of man’s life, culture will eventually evolve. According to Giddens (26), it is not right to think that culture is immune to change. To further support their argument, the proponents asserts that culture does not mean those values and beliefs that have existed over the ages but rather, those activities that have been done over and over regardless of when they came into existence. On the other hand, the opponents of this view states that people should look at globalization with an eye suspicion when it comes to its effects on culture. To support their argument, they state that the acquisition of new values from other societies will lead to loss of ethnicity. Since different cultures have different rules to guide the conduct of their people, they may conflict with those of alien cultures (Blum, 12). Interaction of such two cultures with different value systems may lead to diffusion of undesirable characteristics. Continued interaction may lead to dilution of values from the cultures interacting. Moreover, the strong sense of belonging offered by culture will be lost due to cultural interaction. They argue their point that since globalization brings unity to the people of the world, anyone would have a sense of belonging wherever they go. As a result, the special feeling of belonging to one’s society is lost. This may lead to people of specific cultures rendering their original culture irrelevant after interacting with foreign cultures.
Proponents of the view that globalization is beneficial to culture says that cultural exchanges are active processes. People who get involved in cultural exchanges are usually conscious of their actions. Their argument is put forward to counter their opponents who claim that globalization leads to homogenization of cultures. This homogenization is said to result from cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism refers to the process through which more established cultures mask those cultures that are less pronounced. This masking is seen to be negative to those against globalization as a force that threatens cultural diversity. This imperialism is usually transmitted through majorly electronic media.
Globalization exposes people to cultures that are strange to them. These strange cultures allow exchanges of values between people of different cultures. This aspect is negatively viewed by those who see globalization as a threat to cultural diversity. The proponents of globalization as a force to enrich cultural diversities argue that interaction of people from different cultures gives a chance of cultural examination. People of a different culture are able to notice peculiar features of a foreign culture that the owners would not notice (Legrain and Philippe 49: 20). They indicate that such traits that had not been noticed may be harnessed to improve the culture where they belong. Such unexploited features may empower the culture in terms of being able to attract tourist who would economically benefit the owners of the culture. Those who support globalization as a beneficial factor to culture further asserts that negative traits that may be seen by the rest of the world in bad light can be made known to the people who belong to the culture so that they can improve their culture. These newly discovered elements of culture though cultural interaction can trigger a lot of interest. This interest can lead to further studies about the culture and useful findings to the community may arise.
Proponents of globalization as a force that promotes cultural diversity Argues that it has led to the peace being experienced in the world today. According to them, this peace results from the increased understanding of different cultures. This understanding has come due to the tolerance that people have developed through the process of cultural exchanges. These cultural exchanges have been brought about by globalization. They further their point of view that this peace has prevented much bloodshed and elimination of communities and cultures. They attribute all the credit to globalization that has led to cultural interaction hence the tolerance (Pickering and Jonathan48: 24). Those who view globalization as a threat to the cultural diversity counters this view by saying that were it not for globalization, communities would not have interacted. As such, they would not have had a chance to precipitate a conflict that could have led to the elimination of their culture. They base their argument on the fact that many conflicts are developed because the conflicting parties must have interacted somewhere so that a conflict of this magnitude to occur.
Globalization reduces entry restrictions between countries. The open bounderies allow people to conduct their businesses and other activities unrestricted. Furthermore, the borders allow people to move from one location to another for settlement. During this process of migration and settlement in new regions, people of different cultures are involved. Since man is a social being, interaction of these people of various cultures is inevitable. The interaction of these cultures enriches each member of a different culture in a special way. According to the supporters of globalization as tool to improve cultural diversification, globalization gives a platform for formation of hybrid cultures which are unique in their own way. However, those who claim that globalization is a force that can lead to extinction of cultures see this as a serious threat to cultural diversification. They argue that globalization would not have a bad influence on cultural diversification if it did not involve existing cultures in developing hybrid ones. The use of original cultures in creating a culture with multiple components from more than two cultures dilutes the original ones. This makes the already existing culture impure in that its members who were involved in interactions with other cultures bring home foreign traits.
The critique of the view that globalization is harmful to cultural diversity states that the fear of cultures merging is groundless. However, it fails to explain beyond reasonable doubt how this claim is true. The critique has expressed that the fear people have concerning globalization on culture is based on the need for national identity. National identity loss through globalization is a reason enough to make people argue that it will lead to loss of cultural diversification.
The fact that globalization is unstoppable gives people enough reason to see it from a negative perspective. Anything that cannot be stopped sounds like something that can do virtually anything. As such people are bound to speculate about it even when there may be no good reasons to be suspicious.
The opinion that globalization may interfere with cultural diversification is very true. This is based on the fact that majority of those who have interacted with foreign cultures have come back later home with foreign traits. These people view these alien traits as superior compared to their original culture. This view is always met with resistance from the custodians of the original culture while the younger generation may try to mimic the new culture. Although globalization may have undesirable effects on culture, it has some good qualities attached to it that cannot be overlooked. A good example is the global tolerance of different cultures that foster world peace.
This essay’s aim was to look at how globalization promotes cultural diversification and at the same time looking at the critique of the view that globalization leads to loss of cultural diversification. Globalization as a force to add value to culture, as a promoter of world peace and as tool for creation of hybrid cultures have been discussed in the essay with the aim of establishing the position of globalization in culture. A critique of how globalization can lead to loss of cultural diversification has been well covered.The opinion on where the weight lies between the two sides is entirely on interpretation of the essay.
Blum, Douglas. National Identity and Globalization. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
Giddens, Anthony. Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives. Routledge, 2003. Print.
Legrain, Philippe. “Cultural Globalization Is Not Americanization”. The Chronicle Review Volume 49, 2003.
Marquardt, Michael. “Globalization: The Pathway to Prosperity, Freedom and Peace”. Human Resource Development International, Vol. 8, No. 1, 127 – 129, 2005.
Pickering, Jonathan. “Globalization: A threat to Australian culture”. Journal of Australian Political Economy No 48, 2001.